You’ve got your itinerary set, your tickets are booked, your Bermuda shorts are packed, and you’re ready to go. There’s just one thing: where to leave your cat(s) and dog(s)? This is one of the most common questions travelers with pets encounter, and the answer really depends on what both you and your pets are most comfortable with. Here are a few solutions you might want to try out before settling on one.
1. Find a Good Kennel
Kennel prices can range from $17 for basic day care to $65 per night. But before you book Fido’s next stay, keep in mind that kennels vary widely in quality, in terms both of the accommodations and of the care. For dogs, look for a kennel that offers multiple walks a day plus play time (you may have to pay extra for some of these features). For cats, there needs to be a space separate from the dogs that provides ample room for them to move around. If you can, check out the facilities in person before booking, looking for clean accommodations, outdoor play areas, and a general impression from staff that they care about their boarders. Sites like these will help you find a good kennel, but a good recommendation from a family member or friend is really the best way to go.
2. Board with a Vet or Farm
Many vets also provide boarding services, which would be particularly ideal for pets with health issues. If you live in or near a more rural area, many farms will also take dogs at an affordable rate, providing both boarding and a host of opportunities for playing outside and interacting with farm animals. This is a particularly good option for working breeds and those with high exercise demands, like sheep dogs and labs. Whether you bring your pet to a kennel or to your mom’s house, take along their favorite toys, blankets, special foods, and anything else that will make them feel at home.
3. Send to Neighbors, Family or Friends
If you have a trusted neighbor, family member or friend that your pet is also fond of, sending your pets to their home can be a great (and cheap) option. You might want to do a trial run with your pet before leaving just to get him or her familiar with the surroundings. Just like with other boarding options, you’ll also want to make sure you bring along any comforting goodies from home, and that you leave detailed instructions for feeding, walking, and medication, as well as important phone numbers in case of emergency.
Should you want to leave your pets in your home, neighbors, family and friends may also be able to stop by to feed them and let them out of the house. However, this is generally a better option for cats rather than dogs, and you’ll really have to ensure your carer’s reliability, as your pets may not be on the top of their mind when they’re not right in front of them.
4. Hire a Professional Sitter
By far, one of the best options is to hire a professional sitter who will come to your home. Pets thrive on routine, and just having their owner leave can be enough of an upset to the routine to cause stress and anxiety. Being able to stay at home means maintaining a lot more regularity, as everything will be where they expect it to be, and they’ll still be able to go on their regular walking routes. However, pets (dogs especially) can still get lonely if the pet sitter is only there at night. Some pet sitters actually board pets in their own home, so you might want to look into this option as well. Prices for pet sitters range from $20 – $30 per day.
While pets may show anxiety the first few times you leave them in someone else’s care, they often adapt quickly to the changed circumstances. In fact, you may have trouble getting them back from their temporary accommodations once you return. Choose an option that feels right for your entire family, and you’ll have a much more relaxed vacation. Enjoy your trip!
Rob is a lover of all things animal who also happens to enjoy traveling in his free time. His ideal vacation would be on the beach in Costa Rica with his Labrador retriever at his side. He is working alongside tripinsurance.com, who recommend considering cruise insurance or flight insurance before your next trip.